CRM in Action: Thinking Out of the (Shoe) Box: Olan Mills's Reps Switch From Index Cards to PDAs
Olan Mills is one of the largest providers of portrait photography around the world. A significant share of Olan Mills's business is portrait photography at churches, so the company has about 150 marketing representatives in its church-directory division. Each rep is responsible for between 1,200 and 3,000 congregations, and normally visits 15 to 20 churches a day, with the goal of securing three-year contracts and scheduling photography dates.
But this photography behemoth was managing customer information like a small, mom and pop--type business: with index cards and note pads. The grossly outdated method of filing was becoming quite a handful--literally. One rep actually had two shoeboxes full of index cards that he would lug along with him daily, traveling about 800 miles each week. The company was also encountering problems presenting timely semiannual reports to reps to identify churches whose contracts were expiring.
Olan Mills filed away this cumbersome system in favor of iAnywhere's Mobile Sales for Salesforce.com, running on Dell Axim Pocket PCs. The solution enables reps to quickly access and review account information prior to meetings with church contacts, identify churches that are due to produce new directories, identify new prospects, plan church visits more strategically, and run reports to monitor performance against sales targets. The hosted CRM technology also eliminated the need for Olan Mills to invest in its own IT infrastructure and support staff.
"There's no question that it's made me a lot more efficient," says Doug Maxwell, a marketing representative at Olan Mills's church-directory division. "The two key issues for me are optimizing my time and having the information I need in front of me when I need it. I can enter a particular town into the system and ask [the system] to show me the churches that haven't done a directory since a certain date, and it gives me a list."
Olan Mills is now better able to identify profitable prospects. In fact, the company has seen increases in contact-to-contract conversions from 10 percent to 35 percent for one marketing rep, a 50 percent revenue increase over the course of a year for another, and a rise in the overall number of churches booked for photography.